After a relatively short, injury-plagued international skating career during which she appeared in five World Championships, Lucinda Ruh retired from Olympic-eligible skating and was invited to compete at the World Professional Championships, where she won the bronze. Her last appearance in the competitive world was the 2001 Hallmark Skaters Championships, which replaced the World Pros as the major professional event of the season.
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Related: Part 3: Unfortunate circumstances
Ruh now lives in Connecticut and is guiding her students in skating. Her book, Frozen Teardrop, talks extensively about what she experienced from the different coaches whom she trained under, and how that has influenced her as a coach. Our interview picks up with her continued presence in skating, her involvement in charities, and her foray into the world of children’s books.
Jackie Wong: So, you’re in Connecticut now.
Lucidna Ruh: Mm-hmm, yeah.
JW: And you’re coaching.
LR: Yup, I’m coaching. I never wanted to be a teacher, per se, from morning to night be at the rink, have 20-30 students and be nonstop. That’s not the coach that I’d like to be. I kind of want to be the coach the Chinese coach was to me. I have two or three students who I could really devote my heart to and all my time into.
Definitely not doing it for the money, I do it because I really would love to help these kids have what I would’ve wanted to have growing up. And so I give everything I can to them. So I have a couple of students, and I give really everything I know and everything I can to them. It’s been really wonderful for me as well to be with them. And then my book, of course, is my real focus right now. I’m really excited about it.
JW: And you also are active with charities. Can you talk about what you’ve been up to in that arena?
LR: Yeah, I worked a lot with charities as a skater already. I’ve done so many shows with the Jimmy Fund and so many different charities, so I continue with those, like Project Sunshine, the Jimmy Fund, I’m going to do a teen walkathon in November as well for children with leukemia.
JW: Do you involve your skaters in those?
LR: Yeah, already last year, we had some shows in the area for charities and I have all my skaters do their programs in it. I do the announcing, the emceeing. I get involved with these as much as I can. And I have some children’s books that I’m hoping to write after this one. They are already being written as we speak. Those books will be more of the fantasyland that I had with my spins – the beauty and the real joy that I had with them.
JW: Always keeping busy. You’re not overexerting yourself with exercise but you’re still making sure that you’re keeping busy.
LR: Yeah, that’s for sure. You know, I also wanted the book to show people that with so much media and so much information around us nowadays with the internet and TV nonstop, nobody’s really taught that they are their own teachers within themselves. And I was always taught to look up to the teachers, especially living in Japan, in an Asian culture, the teacher is so highly-respected and what you think doesn’t really matter.
You have to be able to listen and respect the teacher, and they come first. And so this book, from what I’ve learned, is that the teacher is within you, and once you understand and you’re able to respect that and believe in yourself, then you can love yourself.
Everyone says, “Love yourself, love yourself,” but how can you love yourself if you don’t know yourself and you can’t even respect what’s within you and how you think before you listen to everybody else. So I think that’s one of the key lessons I wanted to convey as well.
JW: So speaking of your time in Japan, you were with the Japanese coach for quite a number of years, and his daughter, Yuka [Sato], has been a big figure in the world of figure skating. And now she and Jason Dungjenare coaches in Detroit. Do you keep in touch with her? Have you crossed paths since then? And do you see any lingering effects of his coaching on her ways of coaching with the students?
LR: Definitely, I respect her very much and I respect her coaching very much. I definitely see the styles of her father, that’s for sure. She’s a bit older than me, she’s my sister’s age, so my sister and her skated more together. But I’ve known her since I was four years old, and we skated for 13 years there.
Definitely, I respect her teachings. We cross paths when we are at the same skating events. It’s a little hard. I’m in New York, she’s in Detroit, so it’s not that we’re super close at this moment. But I definitely respect her teaching and definitely see glimpses of her father through her, it’s wonderful to watch.
NEXT: Part 5: Good for you, Lucinda Ruh
Two-time World professional bronze medalist Lucinda Ruh’s book, Frozen Teardrop, comes out on November 1st.
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